the scrapbook: espalier

onthresholds_espaliar trees at LadewIMG_2900

Espalier | noun | es-pal-ier : a plant (such as a fruit tree) trained to grow flat against a support (such as a wall).

They always catch my eye—even before I knew what to call them, I thought they were very attractive. I’ve learned that they have ancient roots and were a prominent feature in medieval monastic life because they could be grown in small spaces. And while most espaliers are fruit trees, roses and other plants with woody stems can be trained in this way as well. There are, also, many designs and patterns used in the art of espalier.

The ones pictured above are at Ladew Topiary gardens, where topiary, another art form for shaping trees into ornamental shapes is prominent, but where some espalier are also found.

Here is a link to an excellent article about how to master the art of the espalier.

featured designer: 5 ideas to borrow from Furlow Gatewood

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As I was preparing for our trip to Americus, Georgia to attend a dear friend’s wedding, I recalled hearing, a long time ago, about the interior decorator and antique dealer Furlow Gatewood, who resides in Americus. Back then, when I looked at the images of his homes, I instantly fell in love with his classic, yet idiosyncratic style—it’s what I might call an elevated cottage style. Read more

the scrapbook: Margaret Mitchell House

onthresholds_ MM house bwIMG_2944

Very soon we are heading down to Atlanta and then Americus, Georgia. We will be attending a wedding and doing some work for a larger project, which we will be sharing parts of on the blog.

In Atlanta, our focus will be on the Margaret Mitchell House, where the author lived in an apartment on the lower level of the house from 1925-1932, and where she wrote the iconic novel Gone With the Wind.

One of her biographers, Anne Edwards, describes the interior like this:

The Marshes (Mitchell’s married name) quickly named their small apartment at 17 Crescent Avenue the “Dump.” Throughout the bitterly cold winter of 1925 to 1926, the Dump was probably the warmest, liveliest small place in Atlanta. Peggy set to work painting it herself. Furnished in an off-beat style with family hand-me-downs, the apartment could have been set in the heart of Greenwich Village. It consisted of two cramped rooms, a galley kitchen, and a bath on the ground floor of a three-story red brick building. Large, brightly patterned and tasseled silk scarves covered the faded, lumpy couch and the scratched surfaces of table and chests. Makeshift shelves were jammed with Peggy’s prized historical volumes and her collection of contemporary poetry and fiction.

We are looking forward to seeing this historical home and having more to say and show you soon. Also please join us on Instagram as we journey down South!

the scrapbook: tidying up


I love a good party, but I like what comes after a party too—when quiet and stillness replace the laughter and long stories (in this case it was the 4th of July, which is huge around here and we are on the parade route so you can imagine…), and there is the putting away, the folding, and finding (a lost pink flip flop?). There is a different slant of light now and people have moved on—some just up the street or upstairs and some far and some even farther…a simple old chair with linens and scraps of fabric and favorite espadrilles underneath are what remain. Until next time…

a stroll thru Ladew Topiary Gardens

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I think strolling is good for the soul. As are gardens. At least they are good for my soul. There is something about the slow pace of moving through a garden and taking everything in that feels restorative and even a bit luxurious. It’s something akin to walking through museum galleries, only most gardens are outside which adds another dimension to the experience (bees, dragonflies, frogs, not to mention the weather). And—despite the fact that we might also be in a garden for educational or cultural reasons, gardens, in general, feel more relaxed.

We can take our shoes off and no one will mind. Read more

the scrapbook: Irish linen


Sybil Connolly (1921-1998) built one of the first Irish fashion houses with her exquisite ballroom dresses and skirts made of pleated handkerchief linen, which was hand-crafted in cottages along the Irish countryside. She became well known for her romantic style that reinterpreted traditional Irish textiles into haute couture for clients like Jacqueline Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor.

The first floor drawing room of her Georgian mansion in Dublin, 71 Merrion Square that she used as a boutique for fitting clients and for fashion shows, was also wallpapered in Irish pleated linen.

Connolly is one of the women featured in How They Decorated by P. Gaye Tapp (see previous post).

summer reading: very stylish women

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“There are many celebrated women who lived with great style but are lost to pages of old magazines or books, waiting to be rediscovered,” writes P. Gaye Tapp in the first line of her newly released book How They Decorated: Inspiration from Great Women of the Twentieth Century. There is a lengthy history of interior designers looking back at their predecessors with respect and admiration—a nod to the past as a way of showing us what we can learn from this backwards glance. Gaye P. Tapp, interior designer, author, and blogger, joins this legacy with her book, which is well-researched and quite stylish itself with introductory essays, photographs (some that have not been published before), and charming illustrations of interiors, also an aspect of interior decorating with a long history (the cover is a Cecil Beaton drawing that sets the tone of the book perfectly). Read more

the scrapbook: a monochromatic moment

onthresholds_taupe at the Georges

While I have noticed recently that the decorating world seems to be having a maximalist, pattern-on-pattern moment, sometimes it is all about the hue and patina and texture, and a less-is-more kind of beauty that turns our heads. Here, on a long narrow covered porch, none of the elements are shouting for our attention. Instead the subtle gray-taupe of the painted brick, painted wood floor, stone table, architectural mirror, and tall silver lantern quietly make a statement. Even the pop of color from the pink hydrangea and the green palm in the simple square vase accent this vignette in a soothing, understated way.